International Widow’s Day

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International Widow's Day

It is never easy to lose someone, and trying to face life without your partner is much more difficult. For women all over the world, the loss is intensified because they must fight for their fundamental needs, freedom, and independence. In this blog, let us have a look back at the International Widow’s day history, meaning, and theme for this year.

International Widows' Day | United Nations
Source: United Nations
International Widow’s Day 23rd June

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What is International Widow’s Day?

The International Widow’s Day seeks to highlight the suffering and inequality that millions of widows and their dependents face around the world. This day is a project of The Loomba Foundation, an NGO headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and was launched on May 26, 2005, at the House of Lords in London. 

Following the announcement, the Loomba Foundation initiated a five-year global movement for UN acknowledgment. They were successful when, in 2010, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted International Widow’s Day as an annual global day of action.

Did You Know: There are an estimated 258 million widows worldwide, with almost one-tenth living in severe poverty.

History of the International Widow’s Day 

On December 21, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly formally designated June 23 as International Widows’ Day, which was observed in 2011. Rajinder Paul Loomba, a member of the House of Lords and the founder and executive chairman of the Loomba Group, founded the Loomba Foundation. When his mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, became a widow at the age of 37, Loomba began lobbying and working on the subject of widowhood in a developing world.

Having said that, in the context of lockdowns and economic closures, widows may be unable to access bank accounts or pensions in order to pay for healthcare or sustain themselves and their children if they get ill. With lone-mother households and single older women already being particularly vulnerable to poverty, this is an issue that needs immediate attention.

Loomba decided to create an NGO in memory of his mother. He aimed to raise a concern about the difficulties associated with widowhood. He also set out to collect donations, which were then used to support poor-country children of widows who attend school. The Loomba Foundation’s awareness campaign is International Widow’s Day, which is observed every year on June 23, the anniversary of his mother’s widowhood.

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Why is International Widow’s Day Important? 

International Widows’ Day is significant because it raises awareness of the issues that widows experience around the world and assists us in identifying ways to assist those widows. They are, after all, a part of our culture and thus our life. It appears that officials in national governments are indifferent to widows’ plight. 

They develop policies for other vulnerable groups of society, but widows are completely neglected. This day allows campaigners to put pressure on lawmakers to implement measures that benefit this vulnerable group.

This day is critical in breaking all of the stigmas that have brought so much continuous pain to these vulnerable people. The significance of the day is to inspire grieving widows to stop sobbing for their husbands and to begin supporting themselves in order to handle their difficulties on their own.

Did You Know: In certain parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, it is estimated that half of the women are widows.

Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic  

The pandemic has only worsened the crisis in recent months, with horrific human tragedy, likely leaving tens of thousands of women freshly widowed at a moment when they are cut off from their usual socioeconomic and family support.

Previous pandemics, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, have shown that widows are often refused inheritance rights, have their land taken following the death of a husband, and may face severe stigma and discrimination as suspected “carriers” of disease. Women are much less likely than men to have access to old age savings, so the loss of a partner will result in poverty for women.

Having said that, in the context of lockdowns and economic closures, widows may be unable to access bank accounts or pensions in order to pay for health care or sustain themselves and their children if they get ill. With lone-mother households and single older women already being particularly vulnerable to poverty, this is an issue that needs immediate attention.

There are an estimated 258 million widows worldwide, with almost one-tenth living in severe poverty. However, the real figure is expected to be even higher and to raise more as the coronavirus and its associated health effects begin to rage around the world. They have unique needs as women, but their voices and experiences are often silenced in policies that affect their survival.

Did You Know: As part of burial and mourning rituals, widows are manipulated into engaging in unhealthy, humiliating, and often life-threatening cultural activities.

How can we contribute to International Widow’s Day?

On International Widows’ Day, public seminars are organized by NGOs, government institutions, and the United Nations. On International Widows Day, you can organize a variety of events based on your objectives. Other activities also included educational workshops to help widows gain access to jobs, schooling, and healthcare. Governments also urge their countries to enforce national policies that respect widows’ interests.

The following are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • Look out for widows in your area and assist them as much as possible. You can help them financially by giving them money, finding them work, or raising funds for them.
  • Use your preferred mode of communication, such as Social Media, Electronic Media, and/or Print Media, to raise awareness about the significance of the day.
  • Share quotes about widows in honor of International Widows’ Day.
  • Donate to a widow-serving organization, such as The Modern Widows Club or Widow’s Hope, Maitri India, The Loomba Foundation, Pyari Maa Foundation, Kamla Foundation, and many more.
  • Investigate well-known widows such as Queen Victoria, Jacqueline Kennedy, Coretta Scott King, Yoko Ono, and Laurene Powell Jobs.
  • Support widows of the church or neighborhood through volunteering.

Also Read About: Saluting the Bosswomen on International Women’s Day 2021

5 NGOs Working in Support of Widows in India [BONUS]

NGOs in India have spread like wildfire. They are providing a reason for individuals to live in marginalized and impoverished communities. The NGOs are serving in various parts of the country, led by an extraordinary and dedicated group of people. Some of the groups have made women’s empowerment a priority. Below we discuss 5 NGOs that aim to support widows in India.

The Loomba Foundation

Credits: The Loomba Foundation

Widows find it difficult to find work in many areas around the world, whether due to prejudice or a lack of qualifications. As a result of their inability to find alternative sources of income, they frequently resort to child labor, prostitution, and other forms of exploitation. The Foundation’s empowerment program provides widows with skills training, equipment, and financial assistance to help them become self-sufficient.

Maitri India

Credits: @maitriindia

Maitri is a New Delhi-based developmental humanitarian NGO dedicated to ensuring that everyone’s Human Rights, particularly the Rights to Identity, Dignity, and Respect, are respected. Through education, community outreach, networking, and legal advocacy, Maitri has worked with over 45,000 people on issues of social and health inequity and public health problems since 2005.

Kamla Foundation

The Kamla Foundation looks after a number of widows who live alone and are unable to sustain themselves. They take care of the Widows’ overall welfare and well-being by providing food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities.

Pyari Maa Foundation

Credits: @pyarimaa_org

The Pyari Maa Foundation feeds the widows of Vrindavan with clean, nutritious food on a daily basis. They also make certain that the widows of Vrindavan receive safe and standardized meals. Their widows’ NGO is working to end hunger. Furthermore, they reduce food waste by efficiently utilizing surplus food.

Guild For Service 

The NGO Guild For Service was founded in 1971 and works extensively for women’s empowerment as well as with conflict-affected children and women in Kashmir. The Guild For Service is a non-profit development organization dedicated to empowering marginalized women and children across the country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When is International Widow’s Day celebrated?

International Widow’s Day is celebrated every year on 23rd June.

When was International Widow’s Day first celebrated?

On December 21, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly formally designated June 23 as International Widows’ Day, which was observed in 2011.

Which Indian NGOs are working in women empowerment, especially for the widows of India?

In India, there are several NGOs that work day and night for the widows of India, to name a few Maitri India, The Loomba Foundation, Pyari Maa Foundation, Kamla Foundation, and many more.

What are the hashtags that I can use while posting for International Widow’s Day?

You can create your own hashtags while posting on social media such as:
#WidowsDay #Women #WomensRight #InternationalWidowsDay #WeStandWithTheWidows #WidowsAreNotAlone #StandWithWidows #IndiaForWidows, and many more.

International Widows Day promotes action to achieve full protection for widows by emphasizing the need for more study and information on the abuse, oppression, and suffering experienced by widows and the development of policies and programs to resolve the problem. Hope we were able to deliver the meaning, history, and significance of International Widow’s Day. Stay connected with Leverage Edu for educational content and amazing quizzes! Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and give us a follow there!

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